Thursday, July 7, 2011

Between organic and geometric . . .

I've been going through a struggle . . am trying to look at it as a dance . . between painting organic, textural images and putting what I'll call geometry (line, squares, and circles) in combination with organic (now only visually) more textural surfaces. I have been calling it a struggle, because the images I gravitate to, visually, as I look at paintings on fb, galleries on the web, and especially Tumblr (you can see what I'm speaking about by viewing my Tumblr archive page here). Most of these images have nothing to do with geometry and only some suggest it.

I have known that I felt compelled to put circles in my work for some time and have accepted that. Somehow . . from the past to now . . how do I put it . . "they just want to be there". And so I've felt that I will do that . . . until I don't feel that! I have no idea where this urge comes from . . somewhere inside . . and completely out of any "rational" explanation. As I've been working on about 21 cradled panels (oil & cold wax) from 8" square (a series) to 24" square, it seems that lines "want" to go in. Yet when I do this it takes me away from the organic nature of images you can see on my Tumblr archive site . . and . . I don't like them. So these surfaces will be dancing back and forth. I've been thinking of how to make the more geometric shapes more organic and more subtle.

These are pics from the progress of my last post of developing images in oil and cold wax, and they are nothing like what I started with. 

The series of eight 8" panels &
the two panels I had started in my last post

The next photos are what has evolved up to this point:

oops! just noticed my shoes!

I looked at my sketchbooks, as I remembered I was doing the same thing . . had the same "struggle" or "dance" going on. Some pics of some of my sketchbook pages:

So! . . this has been what's been going on. I'm tempted to go back and finish some encaustics that were almost done when I stopped, but this "dance" is starting to intrigue me rather than feeling like a struggle. I have a degree in psychology and training in being a counselor in a transpersonal psychology program, and I have been quite accustomed to delving into where emotions and feelings originate, but this (!) has been very perplexing. I actually feel better in "exposing" this dance of mine. And it feels more like an excitement in solving a puzzle . . but not by analyzing it . . just DOING it . . and letting "the chips fall where they may" or allowing what's inside to emerge.

As far as non-representational art (prior to going in that direction I did faces and figures with abstraction), so abstraction is a totally new journey for me.

Thank you to all of you for following me. In my personal life there are not many who understand my tastes in art, and seeing your icons here (and connections to other artist on fb) keeps me moving forward. I read about other artists' struggles, and it comforting to know this is all part of the ever evolving dynamics of doing art.


  1. Bonjour Jann, ce que vous écrivez ici est très intéressant,beaucoup de peintres supposés confirmés pourraient bien s'en inspirer. La troisième toile partant du bas semble inspiré par un peintre espagnol et la série des "huit" toiles me plait, elles me paraissent très bien vivre ensemble comme une unité formant un tout; je vous salue, amicalement

  2. I love that you shared this struggle Jann. I suspect that many artists come to a point where there is an 'inner' image that wants to come out. You must listen to this and go where you inner self takes you.

  3. most interesting to read about and see your work this summer. my fav's are the sketchbook pages in their sense of freedom and looseness of the forms. but all are beautiful.

  4. Have you seen the original movie "Shall We Dance"? It was shot in Japan, has subtitles and is not the American version. Your post made me think of it and his struggle to let the "dance" out. Not just out but to make it beautiful. Enjoy your dance.

  5. In my experience it is always darkest before the dawn. My biggest struggles with my art happen just before a breakthrough..... as long as i keep moving... experimenting .... playing. It's great to share in your process and as you mentioned, it is comforting to know we are all in the same boat, more or less. We all experience birthing pains with new work. I love where these are going and the first sketchbook image is particularly yummy. Looking forward to seeing more!

  6. Salut Thige. . merci de votre visite et commentaires sur mon "danse", moi aussi, comme celle que vous avez mentionné. Meilleur pour vous.

    Hi Jo . . nice to know that it's ok to share what happens on the surface before the final image! Thanks for stopping by and your comment.

    Hi Suki . . I too like the more organic and don't want the geometric to "get in the way." Lots of experimenting here!

    Hi Carole . . Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I haven't seen that movie. What I had remembered was a very long book (which I haven't read) called: "Dance to the Music of Time." "let the dance out" . . excellent phrase, so I will seek to "dance to the music of my inner eye" and mention that to myself!

    Hi Robyn . . Thank you for your visit and comment. "Playing" . . that's another wonderful word that "lightens" the process, and the image you mentioned is my favorite too!

  7. I really like the images you've shown us here.

    Thanks for sharing thoughts on your struggle/dance. I like the term dance for it. And it is a wonderful one which can be intensely frustrating, as well as intensely exciting and fulfilling.

    I have found the exact same thing as Art Propelled mentioned in the post above: that the worst struggle happens just before a breakthrough. It is like shedding a skin.

    Creating art is never mundane!

  8. What a very wonderful description of your process and how you relate to it. I see some similarities here with how I work. Sometimes I feel like I'm struggling, yet recently when I work, like you it feels more like puzzle solving (which is less agitating!) and just generally feels better.

    Also I feel that divide between what I love in others work and what I create. I think that is just what happens, if you let what is supposed to, come out. Maybe your work will move in this organic direction at a later point, but how this is what has to come out?

    Also I think the colours you choose are very "organic" even if the images are quite geometric. They are very Leonardo Da Vinci, these pieces! I think the sketches are fabulous. Keep going with this, I think you are on to something uniquely you!

  9. Hi Leslie . . thanks for stopping by. :)

    Hi Lynn . . creating art IS never mundane! . . perhaps "shedding the skin" of judgment. Thank you for visting and your comment.

    Hi Zen Dot . . Well, thank you . . I think where the struggle came was "fighting" and judging the lines and circles. As you know . . fighting and judging just don't work . . anywhere in life! . . allow what is happening to happen . . and who knows where I'll end up! I have an inner feeling that this is exactly where I'm meant to go.

  10. JG - I think the concept of the creative dance is good - following that natural inclination can take us some good places. I really like how this work has been evolving - many of the pieces have a quiet etherial sense about them - silently sending their own message. Go well and continue to create well.B

  11. Great works, and the documentation of your "struggle" is very interesting. I've once seen a movie about Jackson Pollock working - dancing and in trance, and although your work is quite different to his, it seems to me that your "dance" is a similar way of working.

  12. Hi Sue . . thank you for your visit here and your comment! :)